12 February 2007

Spider, spider on the wall — and a little bit of New York

Found some great books in a Goodwill today, including a selected Bernadette Mayer. But picked up something called Vessel, by a poet I'd never heard of, Howard Schwartz (Unicorn, 1977). Had blurbs on the back from Yehuda Amichai, Charles Simic and David Meltzer, so I was intrigued.

Before I dug into his stuff, though, I found a handwritten letter tucked into the book. I love when I find letters tucked into books. They always seem to be from girls to boys. This one featured three poems by someone named "Kathy." Here's one of her poems:

BLACKMAIL

The spider on the wall —
blackmail looms tall
the sinuous web continues to grow…
How else am I supposed to make some dough?
…all the secrets that I know…
I've got it on 'em all!

Kathy likely never read Schwartz's book or she might have learned something. He's pretty interesting. A lot of his poems are really Jewish. Here's one that isn't, except perhaps in tone:

RECKONING

For every dark cloud a red warning.

For every blade brighter than the sun
An animal clawing
The darkness.

For every wounded tree
A dark sun dropping out of the sky.

Schwartz really saves it with that last stanza, I think. Though I do admire the plainspokenness and the compression throughout.

OK, something else. After my aborted trip to see Padgett and Elmslie read in Buffalo a few weeks back, I decided to try to catch Kenward Elmslie's New York reading in early April. I'm hoping to make it to the open mic at the Pink Pony the night before, but I would love to read somewhere in New York for real. I mean, I think it'll happen someday, but April would be nice. Any ideas?

Over and out.

1 Comments:

At February 26, 2007 11:25 pm , Blogger hugh said...

The two poems also go well together:

The spider on the wall---
for every dark cloud a red warning.

All the secrets that I know:
an animal clawing
the darkness.

Schwartz really saves it with that last stanza:
a dark sun dropping out of the sky,
New York for real.

 

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